Today’s columnist. Paul Scriven: Work together for Sheffield

Paul Scriven at his home in Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
Paul Scriven at his home in Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees
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“I am so proud to have Sheffield as my adopted home.

It is a city that doesn’t always punch its weight but when it does the potential is there for all to see. World-beating universities, businesses that innovate and a wonderful green, safe place to live, work, invest and study.

But for Sheffield to really meet its true potential and stand out we need a number of things to happen. We need to really be more business- friendly as a city. That means all of us including the city council getting its act together to be more of a can-do council for business rather as one person said to me a “you can’t do that” council.

It is important that planning, business advice and support, mentoring and systems for collaboration and networking for enterprising people exist.

The other major thing is our connectivity. Sheffield is perfectly located in the middle of the country, but our infrastructure lets us down. Now, it’s been almost three years since the Government announced that Sheffield City Region would be getting a stop on the High Speed 2 railway. Although the Government announced this station would be at Meadowhall, there have been many voices calling for the station to be in Sheffield city centre. We’ve had been plenty of time to reflect on where the station should be. All the independent evidence, including HS2 Ltd’s own research, shows Sheffield’s station is better off in the city centre.

As well as getting to London quickly, plus more jobs and more homes, we have the chance of better connectivity to other Northern cities. The Government’s plans for HS3, will do just that, linking across the North from Liverpool to Hull and from Newcastle to Sheffield.

With the HS2 station in the city centre, the Northern Powerhouse Rail network ceases to be a government pipe-dream, but a part of the solution to make it happen.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Sheffield City Region and one we don’t want to miss. It is absolutely crucial that we have a careful considered discussion to explore the two options that are now on the table, whether that’s at the old Victoria station or into the existing Midland station.

Above all else, we do need all of our areas leaders to be working together to convince the Government to give us the station that will work best for Sheffield and the whole region. If Leeds can convince the Government to place their station in the city centre we can too.

It’s time to put differences aside and work together.